Q. 13. Did our first parents continue in the estate wherein they were created?

Q. 13. Did our first parents continue in the estate wherein they were created?

A. Our first parents, being left to the freedom of their own will, fell from the estate wherein they were created, by sinning against God.

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“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”” (Gen 2:15-17)

“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” (Gen 3:6)

“To the woman [the LORD God (Gen 3:14)] said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”” (Gen 3:16-19)

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Our last study concerned God’s relationship to Adam and Eve in Eden. It was a relationship which is sometimes described as “covenant of life” or “covenant of works.” Both “covenant of life” and “covenant of works” describe the same reality that man’s relationship to God was covenantal in nature. That is, it was a relationship based upon terms and promises. The terms were, among other things, to refrain from eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and the promise was death in case of disobedience (Gen 2:15-17). “Covenant of life” is a good description of this relationship in that it highlights the fact that life was at stake. “Covenant of works” highlights the fact that man (Adam and Eve) had duty and responsibility before God both as created servants and by the explicit covenantal obligations stated by God: “Don’t eat or you will die.”

Man disobeyed.

Then death came.

It is now very difficult to think this way, but death was not natural to man. Death is a judgment upon man’s sin. But how about the fact that Adam and Eve did not instantly die when they disobeyed? Does this mean God’s threat of death was a jest? Certainly not! We know life is more than being alive. Life is more than existence. In the same way, death is more than ceasing to be alive. Death is a complex condition in which life, while still living, is cursed into frustration. Thus God’s curse upon Eve’s sin was marital conflict, and upon Adam thorns and thistles. Eve was created as Adam’s help mate, and her marital relationship to Adam was at the core of her being and existence. But sin brought a chaos and ever present conflict upon that very central part of her being. As for Adam, the one who was created to work (Gen 2:15), the curse upon his sin was thorns and thistles. Now the works of his hands were tied with frustration and despair. The very gifts which defined Adam and Eve were cursed. Death has more than one sense, as life itself became a burden and a source of pain.

There is another death we can observe here. Man’s relationship with God was ruined. Whereas before God was a benevolent Creator and Provider, now he has become man’s judge. And man’s sin has put an infinite chasm between the sinful man and holy God. Adam and Eve were expelled from Eden, and a flaming sword kept them out. Thus alienated from the Author of life man died in a spiritual sense as well.

And, of course, there is the death of the body. Adam lived an inordinately long life by our standard. 930 years. But, nevertheless, he died. From dust he was created, and to dust he returned. Death eventually destroyed him.

DV, we will continue to study the explicit and implicit consequences of man’s sin in the weeks to come. But here we must pause and reflect. For who among us is untouched by sin? Our lives are full of things that frustrate us and bring despair. Our loved ones are sick, our work feels very often meaningless, and sometimes down right degrading. And death scares us, if not for ourselves then for our loved ones. After all, how many of us don‘t have a life insurance policy?

In many ways we experience death while we are still alive. For death is both a quality of our existence as well as our state of being. But thanks be to God! For life is also more than being alive. Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) The glorious gift of the gospel is that we begin to live an eternal life even in this side of heaven. Jesus gives us an abundant life, undoing the sin’s curse upon us. Jesus’ death and resurrection thus give meaning to our present life, peace with God, and finally, eternal life in heaven. Eternal life is thus not just a life with a long (infinite) duration. It is a life which the spiritual blessings in Jesus Christ radically change the quality of life even here and now.

Do you have an abundant life?